Title: Batman: Nightwalker
Author: Marie Lu
Series: DC Icons #2
Release Date: January 2, 2018
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Formats: Hardcover, eBook, audiobook
Goodreads | Amazon | Audible | B&N | iBooks | TBD
The DC Icons series is starting 2018 off strong with their second release, Batman: Nightwalker! If you’re not familiar with the books, the DC Icons series is a set of books focusing on various DC superheroes generally before they become the heroic versions of themselves we know and love. Each book is written by one of today’s hottest young adult authors giving the opportunities to make these characters their own.
The first book, Wonder Woman: Warbringer, came out last year and was written by Leigh Bardugo while Batman: Nightwalker was written by Marie Lu. There are two other books planned so far including a Catwoman story written by Sarah J. Maas that’s slated for release later this year. And Matt de la Peña will be bringing Clark Kent to life early next year (tentatively).
These authors are the perfect picks for this series and we can’t wait to see where they take these characters. If the later books are like Batman: Nightwalker I don’t think people will be disappointed. It’s a well written adventure into the youth of Bruce Wayne with plenty of hints towards the beloved superhero he will someday become.
Before he was Batman, he was Bruce Wayne. A reckless boy willing to break the rules for a girl who may be his worst enemy.
The Nightwalkers are terrorizing Gotham City, and Bruce Wayne is next on their list.
One by one, the city’s elites are being executed as their mansions’ security systems turn against them, trapping them like prey. Meanwhile, Bruce is turning eighteen and about to inherit his family’s fortune, not to mention the keys to Wayne Enterprises and all the tech gadgetry his heart could ever desire. But after a run-in with the police, he’s forced to do community service at Arkham Asylum, the infamous prison that holds the city’s most brutal criminals.
Madeleine Wallace is a brilliant killer . . . and Bruce’s only hope.
In Arkham, Bruce meets Madeleine, a brilliant girl with ties to the Nightwalkers. What is she hiding? And why will she speak only to Bruce? Madeleine is the mystery Bruce must unravel. But is he getting her to divulge her secrets, or is he feeding her the information she needs to bring Gotham City to its knees? Bruce will walk the dark line between trust and betrayal as the Nightwalkers circle closer.
Even before Bruce Wayne took up the cowl and became Batman, Gotham City was a dangerous place. The cells at Arkham Asylum were already filled with some of the most dangerous criminals you could imagine (though perhaps not as many of the costumed variety). It’s something than Bruce Wayne knows well having witness the tragic murder of his parents as a child. But when we meet up with Bruce Wayne in Batman: Nightwalker, he’s entering a new phase in his life. He’s not just the orphan son of Thomas and Martha Wayne but he’s about to go off to college and eventually take over the reins at Wayne Enterprises.
The Bruce that Marie Lu introduced us to isn’t necessarily that far removed from the Batman he’ll become. He’s a smart kid still grappling with his place in the world and Gotham society. And as gifted as he may be he’s also very much a teenager who trusts to easily and makes some brash decisions. He has a good heart, though, and throughout the book he starts to find the courage to proactively fight back against the crime and corruption in Gotham.
But before he can do that he finds himself inadvertently on the wrong side of the law.
Bruce ends up getting let off easy with a bit of probation and a community service assignment working at Arkham Asylum. Why they ever thought it would be a good idea for an eighteen year old with absolutely no training to do menial tasks at a high security mental hospital is beyond me. I suppose we just have to suspend our disbelief – especially since this is a world and a city where characters like Killer Croc and King Shark exist. And, of course, his tenure at Arkham Asylum happens to put him directly in the path of a devastating series of millionaire murders across the city.
Madeleine Wallace is an interesting villain for Bruce’s first real encounter with the fanatical sort of criminal. She’s bright and manipulative with ties to the murderous Nightwalker group that’s been killing rich folks across the city. She herself is implicated in several murders and yet she’s very obviously more than just the teenage murderer that the GCPD thinks she is. As she gives Bruce little hints and clues throughout the book you’re left to wonder who she really and what her end goals might be. That sense of uncertainty will keep readers wondering until the very end and, much like Bruce, they’ll be hoping she really does turn out to be more than just a common, Gotham-born serial killer.
Unlike some other portrayals of a young Bruce Wayne, Marie Lu let’s her Bruce be a pretty normal teenager. Obviously he’s super rich and still has the classic Batman origins. But while his free time is spent testing Wayne Enterprises tech for Lucius Fox he’s also a high school senior coming up on graduation. He has friends – and rivals – and as you read he becomes an almost normal kid. It offers a unique perspective on the character. And you also get to see some other characters before they take on their more iconic Bat-family roles. Namely, we get to see a young Harvey Dent before his ultimately tragic turn to unstable villainy.
I loved this take on Bruce before Batman because Marie Lu doesn’t rush him into the Batman role. You can can certainly see the supehero’s origins throughout the book. Certain technology that will later play a big part in his role as Batman can be seen in it’s earlier stages. You also see how Bruce and Alfred’s relationship is beginning to change with Alfred trusting Bruce to make the right decision even when facing insurmountable odds. But at the end of the day he’s still just Bruce. Batman can wait.
Fans of Batman won’t be disappointed with this new take on pre-Batman Bruce Wayne and young adult fans who may not have gotten that into the comics (but still like some of the films) will definitely enjoy this look at the iconic character. Marie Lu tells a great story in Batman: Nightwalker that will appeal to a wide variety of readers. And she makes us excited to see what the rest of the DC Icons series has in store for us!
If we’ve convinced you to check out Batman: Nightwalker you’re in luck! As part of the book tour our friends over at Rockstar Book Tour are giving away three copies of the book to some lucky winners. Unfortunately, the giveaway is only open to US addresses.
About the Author
Marie Lu is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Legend trilogy and The Young Elites trilogy. She graduated from the University of Southern California and jumped into the video game industry, working for Disney Interactive Studios as a Flash artist. Now a full-time writer, she spends her spare time reading, drawing, playing Assassin’s Creed, and getting stuck in traffic. She lives in Los Angeles, California (see above: traffic), with one husband, one Chihuahua mix, and two Pembroke Welsh corgis.